Into the River Lands – What Will Survival Be Like Months After an EMP?

Imagine it’s seven months after a massive solar EMP has put an end to the world as we know it. You’re making a canoe trip upstream, searching for friends you believe can help you.

You’re starting to fix breakfast for your husband and infant daughter, who aren’t ready to greet the day yet. Suddenly, four armed men appear, and it doesn’t look like they’ve stopped by for coffee and a chat.

What would you do?

April finds herself in that situation in Scott B. Williams’ latest novel, Into the River Lands. At the risk of sounding cliche, it’s a page turner.

I talk with Scott about the book and more on this week’s DestinySurvival Radio.


Into the River Lands


Points About the Adventure

The events of the story pick up seven months after the massive solar EMP and that which took place in The Darkness After, the first book in this series. These stories occur in the same world as The Pulse novels, but the characters are different.

It can be difficult when reading a series to put the pieces of the story together from one book to the next when it’s been a while since reading the previous book. Scott does a good job of refreshing our memories by summarizing what came before. Therefore, be patient as you read further into the novel.

In this story, April, her husband David, and their infant daughter are searching for the home of April’s friend Mitch. They wanted to get away from the church group they were sheltering with in Hattiesburg, MS.

Things don’t go as planned. They’re waylayed by some bad guys who happen to be the same men Mitch is trailing in his endeavor to discover who wounded a doe in the woods.

Chapters aren’t long, but a number end in a cliff hanger, compelling you to read more. Events unfold slowly at first, but there’s no shortage of tension and suspense to keep you guessing what comes next.

This is simply a fun adventure story about survival. Nothing flashy. Nobody’s out to reform the world or fight the system. Even though the characters aren’t in the thick of anarchy, such as you’d find in an urban setting, there’s still plenty of danger to go around.

Scott’s knowledge of the geography he writes about makes the story more real. He has traveled the waterways and camped out in the part of Mississippi where events happen. We get a glimpse of what the area is like in the years since Hurricane Katrina plowed through.

You can share this book with your teenage children without worrying about sex scenes or a lot of profanity.

The story has a happy ending, considering the circumstances. Nonetheless, there are enough loose ends, you know there has to be more forthcoming. And there is. All we can do for the time being is anticipate.

Points to Ponder

Thoughts About a Good Story–No one can predict with certainty what the future holds. But a work of fiction can give us things to think about. As preppers we must be ready to think on things we may not have thought of. Or at least we must think in a different direction than we’re accustomed to.

As I see it, a good novel about survival doesn’t have to be a survival manual or technical how-to book. It should be a good story that raises awareness of possible threats and scenarios related to those threats.

It should also contain credible information which should prompt us to further research and reflection.

Scott drops little gems in this novel worth pondering.

Op Sec?–Mitch feels the need for heightened security when he realizes someone is near than he’s comfortable with when he finds the wounded deer.

At that point he also reflects on the quality of his bow and arrows compared to that of the unknown archer who shot the doe.

Freedom, but Not on Easy Street–While life after a catastrophe will have its share of stress, many of us may find that the new way of life offers more freedom than we would have expected.

Mitch revels in being free from school and its restrictions. You may feel the same way about no longer being tied to the everyday work grind.

Of course, life won’t be as easy as we might wish in our daydreams. In the novel, one of the characters is Jason, who has had to learn a new way of life far different from that of being a city kid immersed in his world of guitar playing and video games.

Lying to Live–On the morning April and her party are confronted by four unfriendly men, she thinks fast and lies about their situation. She hopes the men will leave them alone. But it doesn’t work.

This brings up the matter of when to lie, how to lie, and knowing when not to lie. It’s not about ethics in a situation like April’s. It’s a matter of life and death. Will we have wisdom for handling such dire scenarios?

A Matter of Trust–Later in the story, rescue comes in a surprising way for April when she was in a dangerous spot. But it raises the question of who one should trust and when.

Probing the Author

We spent some time talking about how Scott writes his stories. Our discussion centered around things that may be of interest to writers.

I like to get into an author’s head because it’s interesting knowing what’s behind the products of the imagination you and I like to indulge in. A writer must contemplate many ideas and find a way to make them come alive to you and me.

If you’re not familiar with Scott and his books, here’s a little info to fill the gaps.


Scott B. Williams has been writing about his adventures for more than twenty-five years. His published work includes dozens of magazine articles and twelve books, with more projects currently underway.

His interest in backpacking, sea kayaking and sailing small boats to remote places led him to pursue the wilderness survival skills that he has written about in his popular survival nonfiction books such as Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It’s Too Late. He has also authored travel narratives such as On Island Time: Kayaking the Caribbean, an account of his two-year solo kayaking journey through the islands.

With the release of The Pulse (2012), Scott began writing fiction. The Pulse was followed by The Darkness After (2013) Refuge (2014) Sailing the Apocalypse (2015) and Into the River Lands (2015).

Scott has many more novels in the works. To learn more about his upcoming books or to contact Scott, visit his website:

Pointing You to Our Conversation

Hear my conversation with Scott B. Williams by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for October 15, 2015. (Right click to download.)

Order any of Scott’s books wherever you see their titles linked in this post. And be sure to check out Scott’s site and sign up for his newsletter to stay informed about future projects.


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.